Report: Germantown HS to Close; Emlen to Drop Two Grades; Parkway NW to Move

In total, 37 facilities will close citywide; many other changes planned.

Three Mt. Airy-area schools will change in the 2013-14 school year, including one closure, if the proposed restructuring plan from the School District of Philadelphia takes effect.

  • Germantown High School, the neighborhood catchment school for Mt. Airy secondary school students, will close, according to the district's summary of recommendations released Thursday.
  • Emlen Elementary School, currently a K-6 elementary school, will drop its upper grades, and fifth and sixth grade students will transition to Leeds Middle School, at 1100 E. Mt. Pleasant Ave.
  • Parkway Northwest High School, located at 7500 Germantown Ave., will also transition to Leeds, with its program colocated at that facility.

The big blow is the closure of the neighborhood high school, which recently became a Renaissance school. Ninth to 11th grade students from Germantown can transfer to Martin Luther King Promise Academy or Roxborough High School next fall.

Additionally, students presently enrolled in special programs—like the Culinary Arts, Commercial Advertising Art, and Business Technology Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs—will be relocated to King Promise Academy.

Leeds currently operates as a seventh and eighth grade facility, in addition to hosting the Philadelphia Military Academy at Leeds. That school will move to a new combined military academy at Roosevelt Middle School.

In addition to hosting Parkway Northwest, Leeds will take on more elementary students. It will expand to fifth and sixth grades, and will act as a feeder school for Edmonds, Pennypacker, Emlen, JB Kelly and Wister Elementary Schools.  

Parkway Northwest will continue to accept students citywide and will move from its leased facility.

In total, 44 public schools will either close or relocate to new buildings, with 37 facilities closing.

In 2011-12, the district conducted its first wave of reorganization. AMY Northwest Middle School moved from a leased space in Mt. Airy to Levering Elementary School, a Roxborough facility that closed.

New Superintendent William Hite will address the public at 2 p.m. at a news conference, which can be streamed live here.

Hite released the plan to staff members Thursday morning, and the complete list was shared with the press.

The district said the planned developed around these principles:

  1. Standardize grade configuration to improve K-12 academic pathways, provide equity in programmatic offerings, and create predictable and manageable transitions for students.
  2. Reduce excess capacity through building closures, co-locations, termination of leases, and closure of annexes.
  3. Develop a new Capital Improvement Program that addresses deferred maintenance and educational adequacy.
  4. Develop a plan for surplus real estate and an opportunity for community engagement.
  5. Generate revenue from the sale of surplus properties to be applied to debt service or capital fund.

All adjustments must be approved by the School Reform Commission, which is expected to take up the plan in March.

Shirley December 13, 2012 at 05:45 PM
And this is for the betterment of our educational system? And those teachers will go where? And now the children will have to travel much farther to get to school? How will those parents already financially strapped afford the additional travel? Our kids will be spending more time traveling than being taught. With the amount of schools closing, no wonder our education system is failing. This goes for both public and catholic schools. We need more tech schools cause the way of the future is advanced technology.
Arthur Waskow December 14, 2012 at 12:02 PM
The reduce-schools program is only one aspect of a much larger problem. The swollen US military budget is eating out our society like a cancer from within -- shattering our ability to feed the poor, teach our children, heal the sick -- even to travel our railroads, dispose of our sewage, and heal the environment in which we live and on which we depend. We need to reclaim that money for the needs of our society, and we will never in fact be able to meet our own domestic needs so long as the military budget remains so high. For more info and a way of organizing to change our national priorities from war to jobs, see <http://www.jobs-not-wars.org/> -- Shalom, salaam, paz, peace -- Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Mikas715 December 27, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Germantown High school is much larger than King. How can they fit 1500 students into that school. It is ridiculous to think that all of the students in the Mt Airy and Germantown areas can fill King High School. This is especially evident with the new arrivals in September 2013. Germantown High is a land mark with much unused space it should be kept open. Parents should protest these decisions. Schools programs are already depleting and now you remove the schools. Just disappointing.
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